Azure Monitor Review

This integrated add-on for Microsoft Azure helps monitor performance of the base product

What is our primary use case?

I use Monitor for up-down (up time / down time) monitoring and tracking performance events within Azure. Essentially, I use it for log analytic searches, backend searches, and also to provide insights into Azure Monitor.

What is most valuable?

I find that the new dynamic alerting is a pretty good feature now. It bought the product up to date. Response times for alerts are much better than they were. Also running event searches within Azure Monitor. They're quite handy features and I find them all valuable.

What needs improvement?

I'm quite involved in the automation of dynamic alerts so I really can provide some insight into how that can be improved. They did have an alerts feature before and it was quite well automated, but since they've gone to a dynamic model and did a few updates, it broke a few things. Some commands that were used before no longer work. But some things that could be improved are:

  • Feedback should really be feeding back to MSFC (Windows Server Failover Cluster). 
  • Make it so you can actually create more dynamic alerts on the fly. 
  • Add capabilities to export templates dynamically. 
  • Integrate better with Terraform — which everybody seems to be using these days. The integration with Terraform is broken on the Terraform side as well so it's not working as well as it should be from either point.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the product is okay. We've got to do some further testing with alerting. It is something we are at the point of using now with our customers. A client was previously getting flooded with alerts but not when we were able to suppress alerts in the right way. So, I think it's pretty stable compared to how it was. There is still more room for improvement.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think the scalability is pretty good and you can plug-and-play pretty well. I'm not sure how well the product talks to other third-party tools, but overall the scalability is good. I don't think they are going to scrap the current model but they've got a lot of things that you can embed now with service help metrics. I think it is a pretty good bonus. There is a new upscale function as well, so scalability is pretty good.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is pretty good. They have been getting better. A lot of the call center operations are offshore these days, but that situation has been getting better as well. I would say there is an improvement in technical support in response time to tickets. They usually get to things within four to eight hours. Even if the technicians say there is going to be a 24-hour response — like a class C ticket — it still goes through.

How was the initial setup?

The product is in the portal, so you don't really need to set it up. When you get your subscription it is all built-in. If you're setting up customized resources and alerting, then you need to set up the action groups and some other things. For example, I put automation on group creation which sets the alerts and additional parameters. It isn't necessary but it is a good option to take advantage of. The only thing that gets in the way during setup is the integration. I think the setup is getting better and easier than it was.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented the product myself with customizations and building it out for our needs.

What other advice do I have?

I have been using this product almost since it was first released. It changed in the last two or three years to be officially launched. I think the initial release of Monitor came out about four years ago and has improved a bit. So on a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Azure Monitor further up there than I would have before. It is eight now. It is really production-ready. I'm not going to give it 10 out of 10 cause nothing's ever that good but I'll give it an 8.5 out of 10.

To get closer to being a ten they would need automation of alerting. What I mean by this is adding a feature where you drag-and-drop what you want and then you can click and it exports the template. That would be ideal. I think there is actually a way to do that template export, but there isn't a dedicated export function. You can do that without a dedicated function when you deploy, but you can't do that with a visual monitor at the moment. 

In any case, I would definitely recommend the product for Azure users because it is seamlessly integrated into the platform.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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